Charges pending for man accused of online criminal defamation - KMSP-TV

Charges pending for man accused of online criminal defamation

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The St. Paul City Attorney's office is hoping to make an example out of a man accused of posting naked picture of his ex-girlfriend online.

Sara Grewing, St. Paul's City Attorney, said prosecuting these offenses can be difficult because criminal defamation charges in cases like this are incredibly rare.

"It's a new venue for victimization," Grewing said.

And that new venue is the Internet. The very venue a 19-year-old St. Paul man used to post six nude photos of his 17 year old ex-girlfriend.

According to the criminal complaint, the couple dated for a year, and were on again and off again until December 2011. During a break-up, the man threatened to post the photos. Vulnerable, and leaving him for another man, the young woman asked the man to delete the pictures.

In 2012, the young woman's new boyfriend found the pictures after searching her name online.

The ex-girlfriend's naked body, decorated with her name and lewd comments as captions, were visible to anyone with a Yahoo account.

If Grewing wins the case, the former boyfriend could face a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

"We want women and men, and folks in domestic relationships that they're trying to get out of to realize, that's when things are most dangerous from a lot of aspects," Grewing said.

While the photos were viewed anywhere from 77 to nearly 400 times on the web, some question whether throwing the man in jail would violates his first amendment rights.

"She gave him the pictures," said Susy Birabgara of St. Paul. "She should've known the precautions of what could've happened if he ever did that."

Hailey Koehler said she views the betrayal as a clear criminal act and the woman involved should not be blamed.

"He's a skeez ball if he's going to do that to a woman who trusted him, he should go down. It falls under the rape culture category, anything like that, any kind of exploitation of women," Koheler said. 

Others said they believe the defendant should face more time in jail and needs to serve as an example for those seeking revenge on their exes in this manner.

"That's her privacy. If we give [offenders] a tougher sentence, say four years, then people will maybe think, ‘Okay, I don't want to do this if I have to stay four years in prison,'" said Victor Chopianet.

The other St. Paul man charged with criminal defamation in a separate, but similar, case is currently on warrant status.

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